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Private 'fines'

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has sent letters to some vehicle owners, telling them that their personal information has been released to a private car park operator as required by a court order. In some cases, private car park operators are using this information to send vehicle owners a letter demanding payment of a car park 'fine'. For more information, see the information on Preliminary Discovery Orders on the RMS website​

What is a private' fine'?

You may be sent a letter or given a document that looks like a fine when you breach a rule that applies to private property or organisations. This is not really a fine, although the private organisation that claims you owe it money might call it that.

A private 'fine' is usually an amount that a private company says that you owe it because you broke the terms of an agreement they had with you, for example, the terms of use that apply when you enter a private car park. Private car parks may be car parks at shopping centres, showgrounds or other private land.

You might be fined in a private car park for a number of reasons, for example, for:

  • parking for too long
  • not displaying a ticket
  • not paying a fee.

Other common private 'fines' include fees for overdue videos or library books.

What can happen if you get a private fine?

If a private organisation gives you a fine, this can't be enforced through the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO).

A private organisation can make a claim against you for the amount that it has fined you by filing a Statement of Claim against you in a civil court, for example, the Local Court.

To be successful, it would have to prove that:

  • you entered into a contract with the organisation
  • you breached that contract (that is, you did not follow the terms of that contract).

For more information about responding to claims made in the small claims division of the Local Court, see Is someone chasing you for money? in the Debt - small claims section of this website.

Alert Icon  If you receive a 'fine' from a private organisation and you do not believe you should have to pay it, you should get legal advice.